One of the best things that I can recommend to guys who want to build their confidence in social situations is improv classes.
What is improv?
In short, improvisation is where a scene (whether theatrical, musical, or comical) is created with no script or preparation. It’s completely spontaneous and often without a pre-determined structure (depending on the types of improv you do).
Every Saturday afternoon I go off to my improv class with a group of mostly strangers and get to escape this crazy real life world of technology, social media, seriousness, and work, and get to spend a few hours immersed in space, supermarkets, jail, and even the rainforest. One minute I’m a naughty 5 year old child, the next I’m a disgruntled old lady, and then I’m justifying to the audience why stalking should be made legal.
Improv is daunting but it facilitates a completely safe space to “play”. There are no wrong answers (though there are some “suggested” rules that improvisers are encouraged to go along with to make the scenes flow easier), it’s fun, can be completely wacky, and really allows people to tap into that creative part of the mind that everyday life doesn’t always allow us to use.
For any guys who are reading this who are looking to build their confidence and push themselves out of comfort zones, here are 6 reasons why improv is a worth a try.
1. You Will Interact With Everyone In The Group
Maybe you go to parties, events, or social gatherings and find it difficult to “work the room?” Maybe you’re just straight up socially awkward?
Improv can really help build those social muscles. It attracts all kinds of people from different backgrounds and walks of life, and everyone is keen to get to know what brings you to improv classes, and makes starting conversations easier.
Plus when you get into the class itself, the teacher will usually structure it so that everyone gets a chance to perform with as many people as possible.
There’s something about it that is supportive too. You don’t tend to get many egos and everyone is generally fun, upbeat, and positive.
Oh, and there’s usually some kind of social gathering at a bar after class too. So it’s a great way to build a more diverse social circle.
2. You Have To Think On Your Feet
There is no time to prepare for improv! So if you find yourself ever stuck for things to stay in social situations or can’t articulate yourself as well as you’d like, improv is an amazing way to get to work on those skills.
You literally have to think of your response on the spot. And because you more or less have free reign over what that response is, the more creative and less “logical” you can be.
This definitely transcends into everyday life because you start to tap into that other part of the brain to think more spontaneously.
You also start to engage the brain from a more heightened place, and begin to notice more hooks and associations, rather than staying on the same subject and never going beyond small talk.
3. You Are Forced To Be Out Of Control
You might have an idea about how you want a scene to play out, but if another actor steps in and changes the direction, you have to be able to go with that.
To be a good improviser you can’t be outcome dependent or get precious about your own desired play-out, as that will stunt the scene.
This is a great tool for everyday life to help you cope better with unexpected turns in conversations or eventualities.
I think it also teaches you to be more adaptable, able to think of alternative solutions quicker, and be able to connect with others on a deeper level.
4. You Learn To Listen
Improv is a lot easier for the performer when you can be fully present in the scene. The most important skill to master is being able to listen to the other performer(s).
You need as much information from them as they are offering in order to interact with them and to enable the scene to develop, so you can’t jump in before they have finished!
Everything tends to slow down with improv. You speak slower and listen with more intent than you probably do in daily life.
Being able to slow down and listen to people back in the real world is what creates connection. It’s the key in becoming a good communicator. It also builds your charisma and means that you can make far more impact with your responses.
5. It’s Fun!
There are all kinds of tips, tricks, and hacks out there when it comes to building confidence, but being able to have fun is an instant confidence elevator.
When you let go, laugh, and engage in what you’re doing, your whole persona becomes more warm, relaxed, and vibrant.
Improv is generally very funny and another plus is that it enables you to work on expressing your own humor. I don’t think there are many people who come away not having some sort of fun within a class.
6. It Improves Your Skills With Women
Aside from being a great place to meet women and build your communication and connection skills, when it comes to women and attraction outside of class, improv allows you to explore a side of yourself that you might be too shy to unleash in the real world.
By telling a woman on a date that you do improv, she’ll probably find that very intriguing and want to know more. Remember, to get women interested in you, you need to be interesting. Which means you need to go out and do interesting things!
So why not give improv a try. Many places do drop-in classes so the commitment can be minimum.
Do let us know if you give it a shot and your takeaways from it!